I plant maincrop potatoes every year. Last year, I planted 50 Desiree in mid-April, in the usual way (15" apart, in rows 2' apart, in light, sandy soil that had been conditioned and fertilised several weeks earlier), and I harvested them in August. The yield was higher than usual and they all looked very healthy; however, their texture, when cooked (steamed), was very disappointing: extremely dry and crumbly - so dry that they were only fit to eat mashed with butter. Has anyone had a similar experience and, if so, do you know why this happens? We had a prolonged dry spell when the tubers were forming, and I am wondering if I failed to water them sufficiently..
If the texture is as you have described, crumbly, this generally points to the amount of water given to these plants. It means there was definitely a lack of water, potatoes tend to really hate dry spells, so you must water them well during droughts!
This year a standpipe was installed close to the plot where I grow my potatoes, so I was able to water them in depth throughout the dry spell. I grew the same variety as last year, and prepared the soil in exactly the same way.
I lifted some yesterday and steamed them; they are all very healthy, cook well and have a fine waxy texture - quite different from last year's which were so dry and crumbly.
JohnH was right: last year's crop simply needed more water.